Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are two Mexican artists who cannot create and live without each other. If they hadn’t met, things would have been completely different. Maybe Frida wouldn’t start painting at all. The initial relationship between the teacher and the student became warm over time, and this, among others, resulted in the creation of works of art that are unique in the world.
Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderon claimed throughout her life that she was born in 1910 – the year of the revolution in Mexico. In fact, he was born in 1907 on the outskirts of Mexico City. She was the third of four daughters of Matilda Calderon y Gonzalez and German-born photographer Guillermo Kahlo. At the age of six, he contracted polio. The girl’s left foot was slightly slower than her right foot, which made it significantly more difficult to walk and required the use of special shoes. On September 17, 1925, the life of the future artist changed forever. 18-year-old Frida, who was returning from school, had an accident. The school bus she was riding in crashed into a trolleybus and the girl was seriously injured. One of the handles pierced his body. His condition was very serious, doctors did not give him a chance to survive. Frida suffered a number of internal injuries – broken ribs, spine, left leg, kidney and uterine tract.
Frida miraculously survived the accident. For several months, she remained motionless in a plaster corset. His body has not been fully restored. In all, he underwent more than 30 surgeries and struggled with pain and disability for the rest of his life. The tragic consequences of the accident also destroyed her chances of becoming a mother.
During his recovery, when he was confined to bed, he became interested in art. Learned albums, learned to draw and paint. He had specially designed easels to draw while lying down. At first, she wore plaster corsets in this position. In time, a mirror appeared on the bed. As a result, Frida was able to draw self-portraits, one of the most recognizable subjects in her work. His contact with art and his practical study of the art of painting allowed him to survive the constant need to lie down and forget his pain. His incredible energy and desire to live gave him the strength to finally get out of bed and start moving on his own again.
Diego Rivera was a famous and talented Mexican artist. He was also involved in graphics and architecture. Today it is known for creating characteristic murals in which pre-Columbian traditions are freely combined with Cubist forms.
Rivera was not handsome, she called herself a “frog”. He was tall, strong, and big. At the same time, he was extremely intelligent, charismatic and talented with a sense of humor. She was known as a female lover and seducer. His outstanding personality, energy and spontaneity were adored by women. She often got involved and treated the subsequent lovers as a new inspiration.
Frida met Diego as a teenager. He was a fan of his talent and ability. He has seen artists more than once while working on murals. One day he brought his canvases to her. He just called her to come down the pier. He wanted her to look at the pictures and share her thoughts. He wanted honesty, he was not interested in cheap compliments. Then he had to say:
I’m not here to have fun. I have to work to make ends meet. I drew a few canvases and I want you to look at them professionally.
Apparently, Diego was very impressed by both the paintings and their authors.
After this “worker” meeting Frida was fascinated by Rivera. He did not care that he was 20 years older than he was, that he had a wife, and that he had several illegitimate children. When Diego first visited her parents, Guillermo Kahlo (Frida’s father) said:
Frida is sick, smart, and the devil is in her.
After these words, the girl seemed more interesting to him.
Frida and Diego were a very strange couple. The artist was delicate and elegant. He was a little over a meter and a half tall. Despite her physical shortcomings, she was distinguished by her original, extraordinary beauty and noble facial features. His inner strength and self-confidence came from him. Diego was much taller than him and twenty years older. He was more than six feet tall and looked like a giant next to him.
They were married on August 21, 1929 in Coyoacan City Hall. To make her fiancé even happier, Frida wore a traditional folk costume she had taken from an Indian servant. It consisted of a long, patterned skirt and blouse and a Mexican scarf “Rebozo” (about 60 cm wide and 2 m long, a kind of scarf without cut edges) – for centuries “Rebozo” was the main accessory. women’s wardrobe). The wedding reception was simple and took place on the roof of the house of Italian photographer Tina Modotti. Apparently, the guests were accompanied by a woman drying underwear in the wind.
Frida’s parents had a different opinion of their son-in-law. The mother did not like her daughter’s choice because the man was an atheist and … he still had a wife for a church wedding. According to him, Frida and Diego looked like pigeons and elephants. Only the girl’s father was present at the ceremony, and he showed a more practical approach. She was aware of her daughter’s health. He was glad to find someone to look after him and pay for his treatment.
Photo by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Getty Images
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The first years of marriage were very happy. After the wedding, Diego continued to create murals. His wife became his inspiration and companion. He painted himself to pass the time. He took part in the activities of the League of Young Communists. He wore a long black skirt, wore a hammer and sickle to his hair, and went to rallies and speeches. The general experiences of the time and her husband’s artistic influence helped her develop her own style of painting. They were both deeply interested in pre-Columbian traditions and admired the richness of Mexican folklore. Diego watched his wife’s artistic development, shared her advice, but most importantly, left her the freedom to develop.. After the wedding, Frida changed her style of dress. She began to wear long, colorful, folk costumes adorned with Indian or gold jewelry. The oversized clothes helped to hide her physical flaws. Even when he had to lie in bed, he was always well-dressed and well-groomed. She braided her long hair and tied it over her head with delicate ornaments, ribbons and flowers. Everywhere he looked, he was intrigued. Over time, colorful dresses, original hairstyles and … delicately combined eyebrows became his trademark.
Picture left Frida Kahlo, right Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo, Getty Images
During all this time, Frida dreamed of a child. Unfortunately, after several pregnancies, she had to say goodbye to the dream of becoming a mother. Today, we can see this pain and disappointed hope in the pictures that document this difficult period of Frida’s life. Frida Kahlo became an independent woman and a mature artist. He painted a lot and wanted to make money from his art. Images are no longer just used to record experiences. He began to create larger forms, taking into account the audience. The first exhibitions of his paintings were held in galleries in New York and Paris.
In the summer of 1934, Frida learned that Diego had an affair with his sister, Christina.. Everything showed that this was not a temporary flirtation, and he had been deceived for a long time. He felt a double betrayal. He moved out of the joint house. He threw himself into the whirlpool of socialization, but that did not ease his pain.
Despite their love for Diego, the incident changed their relationship forever. They stayed together, but since then they have both turned to flirting and romance. Frida, unlike Diego, was very restrained. He tried to keep his love notes secret. Although her husband turned a blind eye to her intimate adventures with women, he could not accept her relationship with men.
Frida Kahlo’s artistic success did not go hand in hand with happiness in her personal life. After living in an open relationship for a while, Diego asked for a divorce, or rather. There was another news that brought Frida to the brink of despair. He was devastated and, unfortunately, began to seek solace in alcohol. The crisis of femininity is evident in her works of this period – self-portraits in short-haired men’s clothing and themes of death.
It turned out that Diego felt the scale of the loss quite quickly. What seemed to him every day was a source of artistic inspiration and a driving force for work. Diego could not create without Fridas. In 1940 he was able to convince her of the second wedding. The woman set the conditions with dignity. The couple did not have sex with each other, and Frida had to earn it herself. The second marriage could be called “open” and was a very close friendship. Diego often spends the night away from home, and they both had a lot of acquaintances and romance. They always showed themselves together in public places and were ready for mutual support. They were together until the artist’s death in 1954.
The marriage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera was full of love and dramatic events. They wounded each other many times and separated, but they always came together. They were united by art and political views. They both encouraged each other and could not live without each other. For Diego Frida, he was not only a lover and wife, but also a master of art, a guide in the world of art and a very close friend over time. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Frida Kahlo was overshadowed by her husband during her lifetime, and today she is one of the symbols of Mexican art.
In the Mexican capital, you can visit Casa Azul, the iconic blue house where Frida and Diego lived after their marriage. In 1958 (a few months after Diego’s death), a museum dedicated to several artists was opened there. The almost unchanging interior is full of souvenirs and items belonging to Frida and Diego. An interesting fact is that the bathroom next to Frida’s bedroom has been closed for almost half a century. It turned out that Diego had collected his wife’s personal belongings there. At the end of 2003, the room was opened. Pictures, documents, and letters were stored safely in the warehouse. Frida’s clothes, known so far only from photographs and drawings, have become a very valuable find. These included clothes, shoes, jewelry, hair bands, and even makeup accessories.
Health-related items are very effective: orthopedic and plaster corsets, medicine vials, and a prosthetic foot that should be used at the end of its life. It gives him an idea of the pain and suffering he experiences every day. Thanks to these treasures, you can better imagine what an amazing character Frida Kahlo is.